Article 4 Directions - Houses in Multiple Occupation

Planning permission is not usually required to convert a dwelling (Use Class C3) into a small HMO (Use Class C4) provided that the property accommodates no more than 6 unrelated individuals and such changes of use are normally permitted development.  Planning permission is usually required for a change of use to a larger HMO accommodating 7 or more unrelated individuals.

Through Article 4 of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, the council can make a Direction to withdraw permitted development rights. This means that planning permission is then needed for development previously allowed under the withdrawn permitted development rights.

Article 4 Directions in areas of Crewe

On 6 October 2020, the council made three non-immediate Article 4 Directions to remove permitted development rights for the change of use of a dwelling (Use Class C3) to a small HMO (Use Class C4) in an area covering the streets around Nantwich Road, Hungerford Road and West Street in Crewe. These Directions came into force on 1 November 2021.

A copy of each confirmed direction, including a map defining each area and the confirmation notice can be viewed below.

Within the areas covered by the Directions, the change of use of a dwelling (Use Class C3) to a small HMO (Use Class C4) shall not be carried out unless planning permission is first granted for this change of use.

The Directions do not apply retrospectively. Any dwelling (Use Class C3) in use as a small HMO (Use Class C4) before 1 November 2021 is not affected. However, it would be in the interests of landlords and property owners to keep records to demonstrate that dwellings were in use as HMOs before 1 November 2021 in the event that this is later queried.

If landlords and property owners require written confirmation that a dwelling is in current use as a small HMO (Use Class C4) then the appropriate procedure for doing so would be to submit an application for a Lawful Development Certificate.

Why have the Directions been made?

The majority of the borough’s HMOs are located within Crewe and these are concentrated around the Nantwich Road, Hungerford Road and West Street areas of the town.

The cabinet report and evidence paper (Appendix D) highlighted a coincidence of environmental, economic and social issues within areas with high concentrations of HMOs, for example increased levels of fly-tipping. The Article 4 Directions will enable the council to better monitor and manage the growth of new HMOs within these areas via the planning application process.


Public Notice (PDF, 64KB) was given of the making of the Directions by press and site notice and representations were invited between 19 October 2020 and 11 January 2021. All feedback received was considered before a decision to confirm the Directions was made 9 April 2021. 

Other planning policy documents

Alongside the Article 4 Directions cited above, the Houses in Multiple Occupation supplementary planning document (PDF, 873KB) and the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document Policy HOU 4 may also be relevant to development proposals involving HMOs .

Further information

If you have any queries, you can contact the Strategic Planning Team at: Our Article 4 Direction Privacy notice explains how we will use personal information when making Article 4 Directions.

Page last reviewed: 17 August 2023